The Jerk

Release Date: 12/16/1979 – Rated R

Starring: Steve Martin (Parenthood), Bernadette Peters (Silent Movie)

Plot Summary: Navin Johnson was born in Mississippi, a poor black child; but on his 18th birthday he decides to leave it all behind and go see the world.  Navin isn’t exactly what you would call a smart man, in fact he makes Forrest Gump look like Steven Hawking.  His travels bring him to St. Louis where he gets a job at a gas station, but soon had to flee as a crazy person keeps shooting at oil cans close by.  He escapes, along with his trusty dog Shit Head, into a carnival, where he gets a new job as a weight guesser and as a husband to an over-sexed daredevil.  Navin goes on to meet and marry Marie, as well as become a millionaire for a silly invention he comes up with.  He’s living the elegant high-life with everything a man could want: a wife, a dog, a stuffed camel and a bathtub shaped like a clam.  All that is lost though, when a lawsuit wipes out his fortune as quick as it came.  Will Navin’s and Marie’s marriage weather this tough time? Or is he just a big jerk.

Alex’s Thoughts:  This was the first VHS tape I ever bought with my own money when I was a kid. I thought it was the funniest thing ever, and eventually wore the tape out to the point where even drop-kicking the tracking knob wouldn’t show a clear picture.  As many times as I watched that movie, I can still watch it today and laugh just as much, or more now that I’m old enough to understand some of the more off-color jokes that a 11-year-old wouldn’t catch on to.  There are just so many little details in this movie that are just great (the disposable wine glasses, the thermos song) in addition to the obvious funny parts.  Go watch it… NOW!

Tim’s Thoughts: This is one of my all time favorites, right next to Spinal Tap. I wish I could grab everyone I see and shake them untill they agree to watch. This is Steve Martin at his very best, (except for his Muppet Movie cameo) and I still laugh out loud every time I see this. “HE HATES THESE CANS!” I work that line into conversations every chance I get. Martin is so unique with his comedic style and nothing really encapsulates his particular brand more than the Jerk. The ONLY thing that is missing would be his magic act, which if I had a time machine and was done killing George Lucas right after Jedi came out, I would go back to the early-mid 70s and a get a front row seat. For big fans they should read Born Standing Up, a book loaned to me by a friend that doesn’t know how to read and asked me to tell him how it went. (You’re welcome Matt)

Final Thoughts:  For a 31-year-old movie, this still holds up really well today.  The jokes and sight-gags are timeless and would make someone from any generation wet themselves with glee.

Alex Rates This 10/10

Tim Rates This 10!!/10

“First I get my name in the phone book and now I’m on your ass. You know, I’ll bet more people see that than the phone book.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here